The main task of the Coroner's Office is to determine both the medical and legal causes for deaths in York County with priority focused on sudden, suspicious as well as deaths that occur for no apparent reason. The Coroner is a County official whom is elected to serve a four-year term.
The Coroner, an elected constitutional officer, has jurisdiction over all deaths investigated by their office. Generally, the Coroner is responsible for investigating all suspicious and violent deaths, as well as all deaths that occur outside of a hospital or nursing home. In addition to the aforementioned scenarios, the Coroner / Coroner’s office is also responsible for investigation of all deaths that occur less than 24 hours after patients are admitted to the hospital as well as all emergency room deaths.
It is the sole responsibility and authority of the Coroner to determine the manner of death of every person who dies in York County or is injured in York County insofar as to result in death, regardless of the location of death, as it pertains to the injury. As circumstances warrant, the Coroner may retain the assistance of experts in the fields of anthropology, toxicology, odontology, entomology, radiology, photography, trace evidence collections and other fields of forensic science to assist in his or her investigation. Cause of death is determined by a pathologist or physician consulting with the Coroner. The Coroner has to determine and make the decision for natural, accidental, suicidal, or undetermined causes for death. The Coroner solely responsible for deciding when an autopsy will be performed and in many cases must witness the autopsy. The solicitor has the authority to request an autopsy.
It is the responsibility of the Coroner to see that all evidence at the scene of a death is preserved and all personal belongings of the decedent are safeguarded and returned to his/her family. When possible, the Coroner personally notifies relatives and loved ones of the unfortunate death. The Coroner works closely with all branches of the military regarding deaths and disasters and assumes joint investigation concerning any military personnel or military-department deaths occurring in York County.
In addition to the above responsibilities, the Coroner conducts inquests, issues burial removal permits, authorizes and issues cremation letters to parties of concern, signs death certificates, and maintains permanent records on every case.
If you need to report a death, call 9-1-1 immediately and answer all questions the 9-1-1 telecommunicator asks. 9-1-1 will then contact the coroner on-call to respond to the reported death.
- What are the office hours?
- The Coroner's office is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday thru Friday, however at least one investigator is on duty 24 hours a day.
- What is your mailing address?
- 933 Heckle Blvd, Suite 103
Rock Hill, SC, 29732
- What is your fax number?
- The fax number for the York County Coroner's office is, (803) 324-9595
- Who can get copies of a decedent's reports and how?
- One copy is issued to the immediate next-of-kin at no cost. The next-of-kin can get a copy of their loved one's reports by mailing or faxing a written request. This request should include the decedent's name and date of death. Please include a return mailing address. Insurance companies can also obtain a copy of the Coroner's report by faxing a request on their company letterhead.
- How can personal property be reclaimed?
- The immediate next-of-kin should call the office(803-684-8576) and schedule an appointment to pick up property.
- Where can I get a copy of a Death Certificate?
- The Funeral Home will provide this for you. The funeral home will ask the family how many copies will be needed when the arrangements are made. If additional copies are needed at a later time you can get them from the vital records in the Department of Health and Environmental Control. The building is located in Rock Hill at the York County Complex:
1070 Heckle Boulevard.
- Who pays for an autopsy or an examination?
- These procedures are paid for by York County.
- Should the Coroner have a medical license?
- South Carolina statute does not require the coroner to have a medical license.
- Should the Coroner be a funeral director?
- No, the Coroner's office has no responsibilities regarding the preparation of a body for burial.
- Why is the Coroner involved?
- State law requires the Coroner to inquire into and determine the circumstances, manner, and cause of all unexpected, violent or unusual deaths. Certain natural deaths must be investigated as well. Law enforcement and emergency medical services may also respond.
- Where will my relative/friend be taken?
- He or she will be taken to Piedmont Medical Hospital. York County has facilities to receive and safeguard the deceased at this location.
- How will my relative/friend be transported to this facility?
- York County has a contract with a privite transport company who is highly professional and experienced in the field of securely transporting the deceased. Transportation is done under the direct supervision of the Coroner or deputy on scene.
- Is it nesessary for me to come to the Coroner's office to identify the body?
- No. In a majority of cases, visual identification is not necessary to positively identify the deceased.